Croatia beat the Samurai Blues on Monday 3-1 on penalties after the game ended 1-1. The Blazers retained their World class status with this victory and the clash granted them a spot in the semi finals. Here’s the reactions from the game:
Japanese manager Hajime Moriyasu praised the players’ efforts in the tournament: “We could not break through the round of 16 and could not see a new landscape, we won against Germany and Spain, who have been champions”.
This Japanese side caused many upsets and many believed beating last tournaments runners up would be the next one, but Croatia dug in after the first goal and turned things around. Moriyasu also highlighted his team’s attitude throughout the tournament: “The players showed a new era of Japanese football and they should use this feeling of being upset to try to win next time.”
In the shootout, Kaoru Mitoma, Takumi Minamino and skipper Maya Yoshida all saw their efforts squandered by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. Croatia relied on their stars to make the difference, with Modric and Kovacic controlling the midfield and forward Perisic with his brilliant headed goal.
Croatian gaffer Zlatko Dalic said: “We had a difficult match against the feisty and aggressive approach of an exceptionally difficult opponent. This win sees Croatia move onto the semi finals on Friday against favourites Brazil.